County Of Wetaskiwin Healthy When Compared To Similar Municipalities

  • Mar. 4, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Pipestone Flyer

The County of Wetaskiwin is financially healthy – at least according to a comparison with 18 similar municipalities. Alberta Municipal Affairs, using municipal financial and statistical data compares each of 18 municipalities with others having a similar equalized assessment base.

The report is a brief snapshot of the County of Wetaskiwin Financial Indicators that verifies it serves its residents responsibly while delivering a multitude of programs and services. The County maintains a focus on ensuring all programs and services they offer follow a strategic planning and managing process to ensure the highest degree of effectiveness while carefully monitoring costs.

The Financial Indicators can serve as a tool to assist Council and Administration with operational decisions. The process, as outlined by the County, begins with the preparation of Vision, Mission and Values statements. This challenges the team members to carefully consider some fundamental questions about why the organization exists and what its future aspirations should look like. The Vision and Mission statements provide a clear indication as to where the organization is and where it is going. The Values statements contribute to the culture of the organization.

Some highlights of Financial Indicators 2013 reported by the County of Wetaskiwin:

Taxes:

• The equalized tax rate for the County was 6.8 percent verses a median of 7.4 percent and a maximum of 20.0 percent.

• The residential equalized tax rate was 4.9 percent verses a median of 6.3 percent and a maximum of over 40 percent.

• The non-residential equalized tax rate was 18.6 percent verses a median of 12.0 percent and a maximum of 25.0 percent.

• The total equalized assessment per kilometer of roads is $1,305,130 vs a median of $1,386,165.

• The Non-Residential Assessment as a percentage of total equalized assessment is 34.5 percent verses a median of 74.5 percent.

Debt load:

• Only using 2.4 percent of its total debt limit in 2013 compared to a median of 12.6 percent and a maximum of 50 percent.

• Only using 1.3 percent of its total debt service limit verses a median of 10.8 percent. (The debt service level is the ability to make the payments on debt instruments).

• Long term debt per capita is $790 compared to a median of $740 per capita from the sample group. Debt load ranged from $0 per capita to a maximum of just under $6,000 per capita. Note: The reason for the large increase from $97 in 2010 is the new debt for the Senior’s Housing that the County obtained. This is being repaid by the Wetaskiwin & Area Lodge Authority.

Property taxes:

• Per capita property tax is $1,668 compared to a median of $3,600 per capita and a maximum of $20,000.

• Percentage of property taxes to total operating revenue is 65 percent compared to a median of 67 percent and a maximum of 83 percent.

• The percentage of sales and user charges to total operating revenue is 6 percent compared to a median of 3 percent. Also the percentage of grant revenue to total operating revenue is 22 percent compared to a median of 17 percent. This is the result of deferring the grants until approvals were in place.

Operating expenses:

• Salaries, wages and benefits is $765 per capita compared to a median of $1,108.

• Contracted and general services is $494 per capita compared to a median of $659 and a maximum of around $4,000.

• The total operating expenditures per capita for the County is $2,058 compared to a median of $3,965 and a maximum of $20,842 per capita.

• Per capita total general government operating expenditures is $432 compared to a median expenditure of $542 per person and a maximum of $3,609 per person. Spending on Protective Services, Transportation, Environment and Recreation are all below the median expenditures for this report.

• Per capita expenses on materials, goods, and utilities is $396 verses a median of $604.

• Interest expense per capita is $36 verses $32.

• Depreciation per capita is $270 verses a median of $964 and a maximum of over $4,000.

• Net book value compared to total capital costs is 37.4 percent verses a median of 59.4 percent. This could mean that the County’s assets are older than the median.

• Accumulated surplus account show that it has less funds in equity in capital assets than the median but more restricted funds or reserves than the median and about the same amount of unrestricted surplus as the median.

The County’s ratio of current assets to current liabilities is 2.85 times. That means the County is in good financial position. For every every dollar of current liabilities, the County had $2.85 dollars of current assets.

Throughout the years the County of Wetaskiwin has faced challenges of balancing services vs. revenue. But through careful strategic long range planning, setting priorities and distributing the resources that are available, wisely, they have overcome many adversities.

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